You know, if someone had told me earlier in the week that Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis would run for 226 yards and Seth Adams would pass for 305 today, I’d probably have been happy. But zero execution in the red zone and missed conversions = a loss to Missouri. I’d have consoled myself with a Mississippi State loss to Tulane, but no such luck, despite the game being tied at 17 at the half. What’s even worse is I was sitting next to a kid, so I couldn’t even shout profanities at the State fans or the referees.
So instead I consoled myself by seeing Superbad. That did the trick.
From Michael Lewis’ The Blind Side, explaining the passions surrounding the Egg Bowl to outsiders:
The game served as a proxy for the hoary Mississippi class struggle, between the white folks who wore shirts with collars on them and the white folks who did not. Mississippi State was a land grant college, originally called Mississippi A&M. The desperate contempt Ole Miss football fans felt for Mississippi State was echoed in the feelings of fans of the University of Texas for Texas A&M and fans of the University of Oklahoma for Oklahoma State—formerly known as Oklahoma A&M. These schools were not rivals; they were subordinates. Theirs was not a football team to be beaten but an insurrection to be put down. This notion was most vivid in the Ole Miss imagination: that the state of Mississippi, with the sole exception of the town of Oxford, was once a Great Lake of Rednecks. In recent decades the earth had warmed, and the shores of Great Lake Redneck had receded, so that, strictly speaking, perhaps it should not be described as a lake. But still, the residue was a very large puddle. And the one place in the puddle deep enough to ruin a shiny new pair of tassel loafers was Starkville, Mississippi.
The college football season has sort of snuck up on me this week, although I did get ESPNHD active in time to see South Carolina manhandle State on Thursday night. Today’s games have been moderately entertaining, including seeing overrated Cal get exposed by a newly-reinvigorated (although I’m not sure I’m willing to say “improved” before they face somebody decent in the SEC) Volunteer squad.
All this, of course, is an appetizer for Ole Miss-Memphis tomorrow afternoon; Frequent Commenter Alfie predicted (in a text message I got last Sunday) the Rebels will win 21–10, which seems plausible enough to me, so we’ll make that the official Signifying Nothing guesstimate of the week.
Well, that sucked.
Update: More thoughts from BigJim. Is it a “gots-to-go situation” for Coach O? Probably not immediately, but with disgruntled players continuing to bolt and ineptitude that goes well beyond the parts of the game under the control of the allegedly-already-fired OC Noel Mazzone, the Orgeron honeymoon is going to be shortlived. That may be bad for Orgeron’s career prospects in Oxford, since it’s likely his legendary recruiting prowess won’t even yield substantial dividends on the field until the 2007 season due to redshirting.
And the $64,000 “what-if” questions surrounding the firing of ex-coach David Cutcliffe probably aren’t going away either. Would QB “guru” Cut have gotten more out of Spurlock, Flatt, and Lane? I don’t know, but if things turn around in Knoxville next year (and, realistically, they probably will; a team with UT’s talent almost never goes under .500 in college, no matter how poorly they are coached) a lot of the credit will go to Cutcliffe.
One final thought: a lot of the Rebel’s woes can be traced to two positions on the field: place kicker and punter. Thirty-yard punts and regularly missed field goals don’t add up to scoring or good field position. Kicking may be the Rebels’ most glaring deficiency, even if it seems to be lost in the discussions over the revolving door at QB.
Today’s Clarion-Ledger does some hard-hitting reporting on the responses of the state’s 3 I-A schools to an NCAA mandate requiring them to trim their football media guides down to a measly 208 pages.
Mississippi’s catfish farmers have their panties in a bunch after a Mississippi State University study found that Vietnamese basa catfish taste better than the state’s native product:
A study that suggests the Vietnamese basa catfish are as safe and taste better than domestic farm-raised catfish is now being called “preliminary” by Mississippi State University officials who say the issue warrants a more comprehensive analysis.
The study, which was made public Monday, has caused a stir among catfish farmers across the Southeast, especially in Mississippi — home to more than 100,000 acres of catfish farms. It has also drawn sharp criticism from Mississippi-based Catfish Farmers of America, a group that pushed for tariffs on the Vietnamese basa.
Another day in the life of Moscow on the Mississippi…
Good thing I don’t have any affinity for the Duke Blue Devils, or else I’d be enthusiastically celebrating their victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Instead, I’m just enthusiastically celebrating the defeat of the Bulldogs.
I just got back from Oxford after the 20–3 rout by the Rebels of Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. It was cold and dreary for almost the entire game, although thankfully the rain was never heavy. Freshman QB Robert Lane saw most of the action under center for the Rebels, and racked up over 200 yards of combined offense, leading the team in both rushing (97) and passing (108) yardage; Ethan Flatt saw limited action after throwing a pick on the first play from scrimmage, Micheal Spurlock didn’t see the any game time, and scout team QB Johnny Wickham came on for mop-up duty with less than two minutes left with a lot of the other seniors. If Lane can improve his passing, and if the coaching staff can give him some different option plays (like some double and triple options), I think he will be an effective starter for the next three years.
On the other side of the ball, a combination of somewhat-improved defense and Bulldog offensive ineptitude led to an embarrassing Mississippi State performance. Star RB Jerious Norwood was contained to 11 rushes for 24 yards, State passed for zero yards in the first half (and only made one first down before the halftime break), and QB Omarr Conner seemed to spend more time on the turf than in the pocket.
Speculation now abounds over the future of the coaching staff; a housecleaning at the coordinator positions seems almost certain, and it’s still possible Cutcliffe will get the axe, particularly if Pete Boone thinks he can upgrade to someone like UTEP’s Mike Price or Memphis’ Tommy West. Allegedly such things are to be discussed at a meeting between Boone and Cutcliffe on Monday.